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Full text of "news update, Southeast Conference, United Church of Christ, May 2011"

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Church of the Savior, a UCC community of Faith in Atlanta, GA 

Church of the Savior Goes on a "Reverse Mission Trip" 

Committing to helping just one refugee family sounded like radical hospitality to us. Our small 
church is located in the midst of some of Atlanta's richer neighborhoods. When we look around us, it 
is tempting to think that we are poor. To co- sponsor a family, we had to step beyond our own 
perception of ourselves as a small, financially-constrained church to recognize that we live in one of 
the wealthiest nations of the world. To help the world's homeless, one family at a time, would remind 
us of our call to feed the hungry, to cloth the naked, and to welcome the stranger. 

Working with RRISA, Refugee Resettlement and 
Immigration Services of Atlanta, we committed to 
a "reverse mission trip," co-sponsoring a refugee 
family-to set up their apartment, to welcome them 
at the airport, and to provide them with their first 
meal here. This small act of hospitality was a big 
step of faith for our church community. 

While initially we felt overwhelmed by the 
idea of being co-sponsors, we decided to venture 
into this unknown territory. We started by 
collecting the small household items; members 
signed up to bring different items on the list. Then 
we were ready to take the next step, finding gently 
used or new furniture. Despite our worries, people 
stepped forward with donations. One member of 
the church was downsizing her household and 
donated dressers, a desk, and a kitchen table and 
chairs. One family donated a used crib. Another 
family stocked the pantry and refrigerator. Others 
donated lamps. Even our children pitched in by 
helping us collect children's picture books from 
our class rooms. Soon we were ready to set up the 

Loading up 

Church of the Savior, a UCC community of Faith in Atlanta, GA 

When RRISA told us the apartment was 

available, we rented a van and delivered the furniture 

and household goods to the apartment. After 
unloading everything, we faced the three most dreaded 
words — some assembly required. The crib lay on the 
floor, and we discovered that it was missing a few 
pieces. We began to wonder if we, too, had a few 
loose screws. Was all this doable before the family 
arrived? Slowly but surely, we set up the apartment 
and discovered that we had everything that we needed 
and more. 

Some assembly required 

Our hopes for this family seemed so tangible 
when we looked at all the books for this young 
child, books that would help the whole family 
learn English. After hanging a few pillow 
shams on the wall, we put out some books, 
toys, and a few stuffed animals for the young 
child in the family. As we left the apartment, 
we knew this place was ready to become a 
home. Amazed at how everything came 
together, we were eager to welcome our family. 

Ready for our family to arrive